12 weeks in India for Royals coaches Read

Blog on time in Arunachal Pradesh

Two coaches from Reading FC are currently out in India, as the club continues to provide support to one of the up and coming nations of world football.

The Royals coaches from our Community Trust, Keith Greene and Jamie Carr, are lending their expertise for an initial period of six months in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is one of the seven states making up the Northeast region and borders the Indian states of Assam and Nagaland and is rated by Lonely Planet as one of the World’s top ten holiday destinations.

Keith and Jamie recently got in touch with the club, to keep us up-to-date with their time out in India…

India has been a huge culture shock to us since we arrived in Delhi. From the chaotic traffic to the relentless heat, it has been a fun and challenging few weeks while adapting to the Indian way of life.

We first arrived in Arunachal Pradesh, which is located in the North Eastern tip of India two weeks ago. This would be our home for the next six months while we coach the local Indian children the Reading way.

Arunachal Pradesh is a rural state in India, Itanagar being the capital city, and this is where we would base ourselves for the majority of our stay in India. Itanagar is very different to what we are both used to in Ireland and the UK. I’ll give you an example; the roads are not what we are accustomed to in the western world, here the roads are poorly developed with tarmac being a scarce luxury in the local area.

The people from North East India are known for their keen interest in football, dominating all other sports including cricket. Although very different, we have both settled in to the local cultures and traditions well, and in particular we have found the people of Arunachal Pradesh to be extremely welcoming towards us.

Our role here is to further cement Reading Football Club’s already-strong relationship with the Arunachal Pradesh Football Association and Government. We are coaching children of all ages in the local community, whilst following the Reading FC Academy structure. With the U17 World Cup being held here in India in 2017, we are hoping to develop children from the local area to give them the best possible chance of representing India in the 2017 World Cup.

We began coaching here at Sangey Lhaden Sports Academy. Although the facilities and pitch available to us are not what you would expect in the UK, the players here are accustomed to sandy pitches and have adapted the way they play football to suit this surface. We have been coaching the U14 and U17 teams who have shown a great attitude towards learning and we are happy to say they are beginning to understand the way in which we coach and train players in Reading.

Our early time here has been extremely satisfying as we began to spread the Reading FC brand across Arunachal Pradesh, while embedding the clubs philosophy and ideas into the next generation of Indian footballers.

More recently, we have travelled to a different district to watch a game in a tournament, travelling Itanagar to Koyu. Although it has not been easy to get from A to B sometimes, our first 12 weeks in India have been an amazing experience and we look forward to more months ahead.

Keith Greene & Jamie Carr

Retiring striker helps out in football session



Jason Roberts paid a visit to Kennel Lane School last week, and interacted with a group of young people with mixed learning needs.

The retiring striker, who last featured for the Royals in December 2012, met the youngsters and took part in their morning football session in the school hall. 


Roberts kept the group entertained, and played alongside the group in a dodge-ball style game, which resulted in smiles on faces of all.

Afterwards, the promotion-winning forward took part in a question and answer session with the young people, who were keen to ask Jason about his career and for general sports advice.

The former Wigan man then signed autographs and posed for photos during an enjoyable morning at Kennel Lane School.

The session was run by Reading FC’s My Ability Programme Manager, Daniel Rook and Georgia Graham – who also works for our Community Trust.



Chairman visits a disability football tournament

Sir John Madejski's visit

Chairman attends disability event

Sir John Madejski showed his support to disability football recently, as the Reading FC Community Trust put on a tournament for local youngsters with special needs.

Hosted in Madejski Stadium’s training dome, and funded by Get Berkshire active, the event looked to cater for students of various abilities – giving everyone a chance to take part in football matches.

Five special schools were in attendance, all of whom see their PE sessions regularly delivered by the Royals as part of the ‘My Ability’ programme. Sir John was joined by Kirsty Heath from Get Berkshire Active and Jon Wood from Berks & Bucks FA.

Gunter & McCleary boost ticket sales!

The Colleton School in Twyford are backing the boys at Burnley this Saturday – and as a reward they were visited by two very special postmen on Wednesday afternoon! 

Pupils are coming along to the game as part of our Schools Ticketing Scheme, and Chris Gunter and Garath McCleary went along to deliver the tickets in person to some delighted youngsters.
Head Teacher Caroline Norris, a North Stand Season Ticket holder, greeted the players and was extremely excited to show the them around the school. The duo met with three groups to take part in question and answer sessions, before handing over the tickets to the young Royals.Over 22,000 seats have already been sold for the crucial clash with the Clarets – so act fast if you want to come along! Call 0844 249 1871, buy online here or visit the ticket office in person.

If your school or group wishes to come along to matches at Madejski Stadium and take advantage of our fantastic group rates, please get in touch with our Groups & Events team on 0118 968 1012 or email mtalmage@readingfc.co.ukChris and Garath aren’t the only Royals doing their bit in the Community this week. On Tuesday Hope Akpan went along to Goring Primary School, after a young pupil named Lois won a competition to have a Reading star visit her classmates! The midfielder .posed for plenty of pictures, signed autographs and clearly made everyone’s day with his typically beaming smile!

Gunter and McCleary visit The Colleton School


hope2In his ambassadorial role for our Community Trust, midfield maestro Hope Akpan visited one of the Trust’s youth clubs at the Coley Community Centre last Thursday, a club that runs every Thursday between 7pm – 9pm. He took part in a host of activities with the youngsters, playing FIFA on the Xbox before shooting some hoops and playing pool with the group, celebrating the club as a warm and safe environment for young people to visit. Hope signed autographs and posed for photos on the day – if you want to visit one of our Community Trust youth clubs, simply pop in and sign up on the day. Lots of youth clubs are running around the Reading area – for more information please contact jgilbert@readingfc.co.uk.


In his role as Education Ambassador for the Community Trust, Royals right-back Chris Gunter visited Shinfield Rangers FC for a special presentation earlier this month. Shinfield Rangers have been awarded ‘Community Club’ status from the FA – a fantastic achievement, celebrated not only by Chris but also the Mayor of Wokingham a fortnight ago. Chris met some of the young players wChris Gunter visits Shinfield Rangersho play for the club and signed a whole host of autographs, posing for photos with everyone who asked!


Online Poster_Final-01

Changing lives through football

Do you want to make a real difference to people’s lives, and show off your football skills at the same time? Here’s your chance.1. Film a one minute video of yourself doing kick ups (it’s the taking part that counts!)

2. Upload the video to social media, using the #kickupsforkenya hashtag

3. Nominate and tag 5 friends on Facebook or Twitter

4. Text Read71 and £1 to 70070

The best video from each day will be broadcast on the Royals social media!

Please note that 100% of the proceeds will go to the Caring for Kenya project.


Sean Morrison visits one of our Easter Soccer Schools

Sean Morrison Visits Easter Soccer School
Sean Morrison Visits Easter Soccer School

As part of his ambassadorial role, Sean Morrison visited a Reading FC Community Trust Soccer School at Palmer Park Sports Stadium in Reading today.

He signed autographs and answered questions from the youngsters. One of them asked if he was friends with Lionel Messi!

Lots more soccer schools are coming up, details here:




Chris Gunter – Community Trust Education Ambassador

Christ Gunter question and answer with JMA u18s football team.
Christ Gunter question and answer with JMA u18s football team.

Chris visited members of the John Madejski Academy football team, as they took part in a Madejski Stadium Tour.

The tour took place as a result of the close links between the Football Club and the Academy. Aged between 16-18 the lads play for the elite JMA team, and several of the group were involved in the JMA U18 Schools Trophy winners in 2012.

Chris gave an insight into the hard work needed to become a professional footballer, and gave details on the sacrifices you need to make to succeed.

Everyone was involved in a group photo at the end of the Q&A, before departing on their tour of the stadium.

Hope Akpan – Community Trust Social Participation Ambassador

Hope Akpan – Community Trust Social Participation Ambassador 

Hope visited a Prince’s Trust workshop this past week to meet youngsters who were taking their FA Level 1 coaching badges at the Indoor Training Centre.

The Community Trust has long and successful history of supporting the Prince’s Trust, with a large turnover of participants eventually moving on to become full and part time staff members at both the Community Trust and Football Club.

Hope was on hand to watch the youngsters take part in the coaching sessions that were run by their peers, and was impressed with the variety of drills on show.

The midfielder then took part in a question and answer session, giving the youngsters an insight into the world of a professional footballer, and was happy to give an insight into the training methods and tactical insights he has experienced throughout his playing caree

Hope visited a Prince’s Trust workshop at the Indoor Traning Center (The Dome).
Hope visited a Prince’s Trust workshop at the Indoor Traning Center (The Dome).